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A look back as a new era begins

20 July 2016

At the end of this year, Andy Jones will come to the end of his two year term as president of BCAS. Here, he looks back over a very busy couple of years

My second year of tenure as BCAS president has been a particularly interesting time, with the arrival of our new executive director Vanda Jones heralding the start of a new era. 

Although Vanda joined BCAS in September 2015, it was only when her counterpart Chris Dee retired at the end of the year – after 14 years of service – that she fully took over the reins. 

At the same time as Chris retired, we also saw our technical officer Greg Bordiak retire, after 27 years of service. Between them, Chris and Greg were fantastic ambassadors for the society, and provided expert and impartial technical expertise and really drove the industry forward. They helped to improve standards while promoting the use of compressed air as a safe and reliable source of power, and we wish them both well for their respective retirements. 

BCAS currently leads the UK and Europe in specialist compressed air training.

During 2016, training has been a significant area of focus for the society and we have been updating and expanding our courses, helping to improve safety and standards in the design and use of compressed air systems.  

We also exhibited at the flagship UK industry show, Air-Tech 2016, which ran from 12th to 14th April. Air-Tech was co-located with Drives and Controls, Fluid Power Systems, European Offshore & Energy, the Plant & Asset Management Exhibition, Mach and National Electronics Week, and brought tens of thousands of visitors to the NEC. It was an ideal opportunity for BCAS to present the benefits that the society offers, not only to its growing membership but also to the end users of compressed air. 

During Air-Tech we also held our Spring Conference, which was extremely well-attended. It provided us with the platform to launch our new website, which has a dedicated end user area and improved facilities for our members. The website also features an independent reviews service, where end users can rate the level of service they receive for maintenance or installation. There’s also lots of information on products, legislation, training and finding a supplier.

BCAS has continued to work with the BFPA (British Fluid Power Association), and last year the UKMCA (UK Motion Control Alliance) was launched. The alliance has been introduced to provide greater strength and significant benefits for members of both organisations (now over 400), such as cross fertilisation of training initiatives, more influence over inappropriate regulation, broader technical support and enhanced business networking opportunities. It is hoped the alliance will provide members with a stronger, more consolidated voice in their respective industries.

Through the alliance we were also able to launch the inaugural UKMCA Awards evening – the timing of which coincided with the Air-Tech exhibition. The awards proved to be extremely successful, and we now expect them to become an annual event for the industries concerned. 

I’m looking forward to continuing my presidency throughout the remainder of 2016. I will continue to strive to meet my primary objectives – which are to raise awareness of BCAS among end users, and to promote the training courses on offer – supported by Vanda and my fellow board members.